The midsized segment has been in crisis for a decade now, but the sales decline seems to bottom out, with sales down “only” 5% after the first three quarters of 2014, to just over 400.000 units. With the new generations VW Passat and Ford Mondeo ready to start their customer deliveries, and the Peugeot 508 recently facelifted, the segment should be able to return to positive territory for only the second time since 2001. The VW Passat remains stable and increases its share of the segment to 28,8%, and that’s even without the new generation, which has only just entered European showrooms and should start customer deliveries anytime now.
The top-4 are the only models in the segment to increase their sales and now control almost two thirds of the segment, indicating a further defragmentation of the market. The Honda Accord is the latest victim of this increased monotony in the midsized car segment, as it won’t be replaced at the end of its life cycle, joining the Suzuki Kizashi, Seat Exeo, Chevrolet Malibu on their way to the happy hunting grounds.
A continued strong performance of the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia helps it to almost double the sales of the third placed Ford Mondeo, whose new generation is finally hitting showrooms after a three-year delay. The Skoda Superb even outsold the Mondeo in July and August, but I don’t think it has enough momentum to gain 2.500 sales on the Mondeo for a full-year 2014 podium spot. And with the new Mondeo at full strength in 2015, the Superb seems unlikely to progress beyond its current fourth place.
The Mazda6 looks ready to hold on to the title of best-selling Asian midsized model in Europe by the end of the year, despite seeing its sales plateau. The Toyota Avensis is ageing quickly but there are no signs of a replacement yet. In fact, Toyota has announced it’s not working on a direct replacement for the model, which is not surprising considering the current annual volume of its Europe-only model.
Toyota is working on a hybrid-only midsized model for worldwide markets, but considering these cars are mostly used for medium to long distance driving on highways, the fuel economy advantage of hybrid over diesel will be smaller than for city cars. VW offers the new generation Passat exclusively with diesel engines in the UK, while Ford has a hybrid option for the new Mondeo, but expects to sell it only to people who are principally opposed to diesel. And with the Plug-in hybrid Passat GTE coming up, I don’t think the new Toyota will storm the charts when it arrives in Europe.
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